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We Spent 2020 at Home – Can We Spend 2021 Exploring the World?

So here we are – three weeks into 2021, eyes and ears wide open for any bit of news regarding the possibility of being able to travel this year after being grounded for almost all of 2020. And if we can travel, will options for destinations be limited? Will we truly be able to go back to the business of exploring the world or will we be confined to our own borders? What is travel going to look like? Will it just go back to the way it was pre-pandemic? Or look a little or even entirely different?

Yes – these are all valid questions that not only have I heard from my clients and potential clients, but my fellow travel advisors, our partners and even from my friends and relatives – oh and from myself. Like you, I have questions. But possibly unlike you – I know where to find the answers and aim to provide you with the most up-to-date reliable information that is out there at any given time. 

What Will Travel Look Like?

Photo by Marcelo Chagas from Pexels

Of course, no one knows for sure what lies ahead as far as travel this year, but it is already shaping up to be much more promising than the travel landscape of last year. Numerous international destinations reopened after being subjected to a global shut down in the better part of 2020 – with more opening their borders up as the weeks go by – our horizons are certainly broadening, even if the ways that we have to go about our journeys are quite different in look and feel. From hand sanitizer dispensers every few feet, to masks being required for entry to pretty much everywhere other people are, presenting negative COVID-19 tests, health screenings, mandatory quarantines and more – it sure looks a heck lot different than it did one short year ago.

Thanks to two approved vaccines with a third one looking hopeful – the demand for travel is on the rise, bucket lists are being pulled out, suitcases are getting dusted off and bookings are coming in. Yes – emphatically yes, we are going to be able to travel in 2021 and the majority of you whom I speak with are more than ready to travel – whether it be by just dipping your toes in or diving in headfirst.

That being said, we do need to be prepared for the ongoing changes and updates regarding CDC requirements until we beat this creature called coronavirus. Thankfully, all sectors of the industry have loosened their cancel and postponement penalties which is a huge win for the consumer. It boils down to yes – go ahead and book that vacation you didn’t get to take last year, and if necessary, you can reschedule it without the costs and hassles that used to come along with doing so. Be rest assured my friends I will be the one who will be verifying with each of my partners exactly what their process is so that you will be well informed before putting any money down.

Where Can I Travel To?

Photo by Thirdman from Pexels

As of this writing, traveling internationally is still tricky thanks to the recent CDC mandate that everyone arriving in the United States must present a negative COVID-19 test to enter or re-enter as that includes US Citizens. Many major hotels and resorts are working to make this as easy as possible for its US visitors by obtaining tests that will be available to their guests prior to their departure either for a nominal fee or some even complimentary. And although that may be just a handful right now – I am confident that it will become a more widespread practice as time goes on. Meaning that international travel is not out of the question by any means. It simply depends on your comfort level, where you want to visit and the availability and access to testing to ensure a smooth trip back home.

The other option is exploring our little corner of the world until we can once again come and go freely without the COVID-19 cloud hanging over our heads. With fifty states that offer pretty much any type of landscape, climate, activities, cuisine, wellness, culture and history that means your options are plentiful. And my friends, sometimes the treasures we find in our own backyards are the ones that we cherish the most.

Trust Your Travels to Thia!

As always, I am here for you – to guide you, to reassure you, to offer you options you may not have considered in the past – and most importantly to keep you informed. From start to finish you have my unwavering support and guidance no matter what your comfort level may look like right now. Whether it is heading to an open Caribbean Island for wellness and peace in the warmth of the sun or visiting a spa after a day of skiing at one of the amazing mountain resorts in the US – I am here to make sure you have the experience of a lifetime. Contact me today to get started on planning your next adventure!

Yours in travel,



Travel in 2021

Typically, when we are on the cusp of a new year, we take the time to reflect on the past year’s joys and sorrows, milestones and missteps, wins and losses. The start of a new year fills us with enthusiasm and a determination to make it the best year yet. We make resolutions, we set personal and professional goals, we welcome January 1st armed with our date planners ready to fill up those pages with what we love to do the most and well … we do it.  

Unfortunately, 2020 resulted in a lot of scribbled out plans in our date books thanks to the arrival of the pandemic. And right up there on top of the list of what had to be cancelled and / or postponed just so happens to be my love and my passion – travel.

As an inhabitant – and adventurer – on this marvelous planet first – and a proud member of the travel industry second – I – along with many of you – have faith that we have turned a corner heading into 2021. Thanks to the arrival of not one – but two – vaccines that have turned on that proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. And even if it’s just a flicker for now – it’s destined to glow brighter with each passing week. 

Now, neither I nor anyone else can 100% predict what it’s going to look like post-pandemic. But I have no doubt there are going to be positive changes – and a lot of them – overall in humanity itself – and in so many areas – including my beloved travel community.

So, as we enter 2021 with much hope in our hearts for the world – let’s start the discussion of what changes we can expect and just exactly where we want to go once we feel safe doing so again!

What’s Going to be Different?

Honesty – as I stated above – I feel that it’s going to be nothing but positives that come out of this ordeal as far as travel is concerned. We already know that airlines and hotels have taken their cleaning practices up a hundred plus notches – Amtrak too. And cruise ships are hard at work developing their new safety protocols for when they return to the oceans and rivers where they long to be again. The way I look at it is that it’s brought a new standard – a new level of cleanliness and safety – that was needed long before 2020 and that is now here to stay.  

I also believe that my brothers and sisters in our travel advisor family will be playing a huge part as not only your trip planner extraordinaire – but as your go to source for safety information on the transportation and accommodations you choose, for the protocols that have been put in place within the destinations you are traveling to, for the cancellation and / or postponement penalties for every aspect of your journey and so much more. And speaking of cancel penalties – we are already seeing much more lenient policies being rolled out by all sectors of travel – which is a huge plus for all of us!

The Bucket List

I believe that more and more people who have not made travel a priority in their life before the pandemic may be changing their minds about how important it is to see, feel and experience as much as possible in this great big world of ours while we are still here and able to do so.

But so many get overwhelmed when deciding where to go first. And that my dears is why I am here – to assist you in discovering where it is that your heart is leading you.  And one of the ways that I am helping many of you to do this is through a new community I have formed on Facebook called The Bucket List by Thia’s Travel Services. Here I am assembling a group of passionate travelers sharing our adventures and experiences and introducing each other to fabulous destinations with the goal to create a bucket list together – to expose each other to what’s out there waiting for you to discover it.

Staying Positive and Planning While We Wait

So, when it turned 2021 last night at the stroke of midnight everything did not miraculously return back to normal – or even to a “new, new normal” – as if someone had waved their magic wand. Yes, we have vaccines and yes – numbers are coming back down in some of the hardest hit places – but COVID-19 is still here, and we still have a way to go before the vaccine is distributed to enough people to start experiencing that all important “herd immunity.” 

Now I’m well aware that sometimes staying positive is easier said than done but I find one way to accomplish this is simply by looking at how far we’ve come.  Look at how we met 2020’s surrealness with a resolve to make it to 2021. As a society we’ve become more resourceful than ever, we’ve come together to help one another, we’ve applauded, praised and most importantly appreciated our essential workers and so, so much more.  My gosh that puts a smile on my heart just typing it! 

Baby steps. There are going to be down days along with up days but that’s normal whether it’s 2021 or 2011 or 2031. One thing we can be positive about is that travel will be back and better than ever. And I would be honored to help you start the planning process. Let’s get the discussion started – contact me and together we can give you something else to look forward to in this brand new year.

May you all be blessed with a year of health, happiness and travel.

Yours in travel,



Wellness Travel FAQs

Americans are stressed out. With everything happening in America in 2020 and in the rest of the world, it is no wonder that we’re all so stressed out! Combatting this stress can take many shapes and forms. As a travel lover and aspiring travel blogger, I find that the most therapeutic way to deal with this stress is by travelling. 

And in post-COVID19 2021, I bet you’re going to want to travel! The world of wellness travel is going to be increasingly appealing to travellers like you and me, as we seek out opportunities that give us a change of scenery along with relaxation. 

I often receive questions about wellness travel that I’d love to answer in this brief blog post!

What is wellness travel? 

I get asked this question a lot! Which is why I wrote an entire blog post on demystifying what exactly wellness travel means (both, to travellers, and to me personally). 

If you haven’t already had a look at that, here’s a quick explanation: Wellness Travel is travel that is intended to improve your physical and/or mental well-being. The idea is to go on a vacation that stimulates your mind in different ways, all of which are aimed at helping you become the healthiest version of yourself, physically and mentally. 

Is all travel wellness travel? 

Yes, and no. 

All travel can be wellness travel. However, it depends on your goal. For instance, some people love to indulge in wellness activities on a normal vacation; some people enjoy going off on wellness-specific vacations; and some like to change the way their original vacation was planned, just to incorporate more wellness options into it. 

Wellness travel is fun

Often, wellness travel is viewed as a type of travelling that promotes peace through yoga or meditation, without making room for fun activities. This is completely false! The best part about wellness travel is that you can decide the intensity and pace of your entire trip. And it can be really active and fun, too – whilst also promoting peace through yoga and meditation!

What can you do on a wellness vacation?

There are tons of ways in which you can experience wellness vacation. Here’s a blog I wrote that highlights three interesting ways in which you can experience wellness travel. Other ways in which you can enjoy a wellness vacation include: 

  • Meditation Retreats
  • Spa vacations
  • Vineyard tours
  • Cruises 
  • Walking tours
  • Healthy-eating vacations
  • Ecotourism
  • Volunteerism

There are so many things that might help you figure out what truly makes you happy and encourages you to feel the best you ever have!

What is the best wellness travel destination? 

You’d be surprised at the sheer volume of places that allow you to experience wellness in different forms. Some of the most popular ones in the world are: 

  • Indonesia
  • Costa Rica
  • Japan
  • Jamaica
  • The Dominican Republic
  • Germany
  • Greece

…and the list can go on and on! But what I absolutely love is that you don’t have to travel all the way to the other side of the world to indulge in a wellness vacation! The USA has some fantastic options within the country itself, such as in Florida. I will be pleased to help you figure out some information about some of my favourite destinations you can visit with me, at a special TTS price, too! 

How to plan a wellness trip? 

There are many ways in which you can plan a wellness trip. 

As a travel consultant who specializes in wellness travel, I would love to be of assistance. I can help you plan your trip from start to finish, by ensuring that you have the best packages available for your goals. 

If you would like to plan your wellness vacation yourself, you can also book a consultation with me just to figure out what you need to be looking out for, by contacting me here

Planning a wellness trip is not difficult, but it involves dedicating a lot of time in trying to understand how you need to go about it. 

I hope that this brief was a quick read for you to understand how wellness travel works and some of the finer details about it.

For further questions, you can schedule a call with me by filling this form, or DMing me on Instagram or Facebook. You may also email me here directly, with your questions. 

I look forward to hearing from you!

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Family Staycation Ideas During COVID-19

This time last year, nobody would ever have imagined we’d be stuck here in the midst of a pandemic, just watching the summer go by without a vacation. Although it has been difficult for all of us, it has arguably been way tougher for families quarantined together. 

There are so many nuances to that – we all need our space, we all have different approaches to things, we all want to go out and meet other people too, we’re all frustrated…and the list goes on. And if you’ve got young kids, it’s definitely a lot more confusing for them to figure out why you’re not taking them to Disneyland this year. 

Which is why I decided to help you a little and compile a collection of different sources on the internet, giving you some great ideas on how you can enjoy a family staycation during the pandemic! 

But first, what is a staycation? 

A staycation is a vacation with an interesting twist. It is a vacation that you or your family celebrates in your own home-town or within a day trip’s distance from your home. Staycations are immensely popular for a number of reasons, such as: 

  1. They are not very costly
  2. They help you relax and unwind in a familiar environment
  3. You don’t HAVE to take an off day from work 
  4. There isn’t any additional travel time or stress
  5. No jet lag
  6. They are easier to plan
  7. They help you learn more about where you live 

How to have a family staycation during the pandemic

Camping in your backyard

Selena Mills, in an August 2018 article in Today’s Parenting says you should try camping out in your own backyard!

My input is, setting up a tent in your backyard, along with a grill, marshmallows, sausages, potatoes (and any other yum, edible goodies you can get your hands on!) is a great way to enjoy a staycation. Of course, now that it’s fall, you might want to be careful of it getting too nippy. In case it does, though, you can just tuck in with your loved ones after an evening in the backyard! 

Have a family art session

Mills also says you can consider having an art session together. At Thia’s Travel Services, we love everything that screams, “Wellness!” and getting creative is a surefire way to boost your sense of wellbeing. You can paint, do origami, make crafts out of waste, decorate the house with lights – and so much more! This set of resources by Good To Great Parent gives you some lovely art ideas, especially if you have younger children:

Go Hiking

A couple of months back, I discussed going hiking to overcome COVID-19 blues. Taking off with the family and going hiking is a lovely way for you to stretch your limbs, find some peace amidst nature, socially distance, and regain a peaceful balance – all at once. Don’t forget to document your hike! Take loads of photos and maybe even encourage your family members to write a journal entry about it to help them express how they feel. 

Yoga at home

When you’re staycationing during the pandemic, an effective way for you to deeply relax is doing some yoga – alone or with your family. With a stunning number of online tutorials and classes, you can staycation your way to being a peaceful yogi in no time! Here’s an article I wrote last month, giving you some yoga tips. This time around, try it with your family members too!

Create a ‘destination’ in your own home

A great way to do away with travel blues is to build your own dream destination in your home! If you’re in the mood for the beach, turn on this video on the loudest device you have at home:, make some pina coladas (virgin pina coladas for the children, of course!), and grab your favourite snacks – anything goes, from chips to seafood! You can also watch BBC Earth episodes to go with your wanderlust. If it isn’t too cold, your family staycation can also feature swimwear for you and the rest of the family!

Go out and take a walk around your neighbourhood

Often, we lose sight of deeply interesting things even if we see them everyday – just because we’re so familiar with the place we live in. Taking a walk around your neighborhood and trying to spot unique things about it can help you experience your neighborhood like you’ve never done before! Your family staycation is a great way to show your children around the neighborhood and teach them about nature too.  

The bottom-line is…

We’re all in this together – especially you and your family. And the best way to get through this, is together. Until we can travel again, make sure you fully enjoy a family staycation so you don’t have to go without a vacation this year! 


7 Yoga Tips For The Quarantined Soul

The pandemic has taught us all the importance of self-care! Staying at home the entire time can be draining, considering you can’t really meet people or go out to new eateries.

Or do anything new. 

In this challenging time, I thought it would be a good idea to put together a bunch of resources on self-care; Here are some I’ve already shared, before: 

As a travel consultant focusing on wellness travel, I often get asked if I also plan yoga-retreat-vacations – which is something I am working on as part of my complete travel package, sometime in the future!! 

But naturally, since we can’t travel right now – for yoga, for adventure sports, or anything at all – I thought I’d make yet another compilation. This time, it’s a compilation of 7 yoga tips for you to engage in this peaceful activity at home to soothe your nerves during this challenging period. 

Whether you are just starting your first yoga class or just have a few classes under your belt, these tips will help you get the most out of your attempt to do yoga. 

One of the first tips I can give is to start yoga with an open mind and a willingness to continue. 

Be aware that meditation and yogic breathing (pranayama) are two essential practices that complement the movement part of yoga asanas. 

While asana and posture are important for physical health in yoga practice, yoga philosophy and meditation practice can also do wonders for your mind, emotional health and general well-being. 

Whether you have been practising yoga for years or are just beginning your journey, if you decide to venture deeper down the right path, the depth of yoga and its benefits will continue to unfold for you.

Create a yoga spot in your home 

man doing yoga session

No, you don’t need to have a spot permanently dedicated to yoga, but when you ARE practising, you will need to be in a place that has ample space and is preferably peaceful and quiet. 

You’ve probably heard of people setting up yoga spaces with incense sticks and candles – and these are delightful additions to have, to get you in the zone. But they are not necessary. 

Use a yoga mat 

woman in black tank top and blue denim jeans sitting on gray concrete floor

Get yourself a yoga mat, or a carpet you can practise on. You don’t necessarily need a yoga mat, but a non-slip one can keep your hands and legs from slipping when you do your exercises. That said, you can also work with a carpet.

If you’re looking to buy a yoga mat, you can get some really good ones online! Decathlon’s online store has a few great ones! But do your research to find one that fits your budget. 

Warm up before you start

silhouette of woman making yoga pose

Warming your body up, like with any other exercise, is important so that you don’t injure yourself. This article I found tells you more about warming up properly:

Do it regularly

body of water

Just like patterns in nature, the key is to be consistent. Don’t focus on doing yoga for elongated periods of time; instead, focusing on doing it regularly – even if it’s just for 15 minutes a day – can be far more rewarding for your mind and body.

Find an online class that you like

woman in black t-shirt and black pants lying on black yoga mat

Although this is not a ‘mandatory’ tip, it’s one way you can ensure you do yoga correctly and regularly. The pandemic has helped a lot of yoga teachers take their classes online – which is particularly helpful if you’re looking at learning from international teachers! A simple Google search for yoga teachers online will show you a whole bunch of teachers that you can contact. 

Or use YouTube videos

woman doing yoga facing calm body of water

You can also learn from teachers on YouTube. Of course, you won’t be able to connect with them one-on-one, but it’s free and you can leave questions in the comments section! 

Here is a great channel that teaches you how to do yoga right: – and the best part is, it’s from India, the birthplace of yoga! The instructor is experienced and her instructions are simple to follow. 

Practise Shavasana

‘Shavasana’ is basically a posture that involves lying down. Literally just that – lying down. Did you know that lying down on your back can help you align your spine, help you focus on breathing correctly, aiding better digestion – and most of all, just feeling relaxed. 

Sometimes, lying down with our eyes shut for a few moments is all we need for our bodies to feel rejuvenated. Try it out the next time you’re feeling drained in the middle of a normal day to see how it makes you feel! 

By lying down and concentrating on your breathing, you bring yourself back into your reality, and allow yourself to experience mindful living, which promotes your mental peace. 

Post Covid…

You can take an offline yoga class and try different yoga styles and attend meditation retreats to enhance the way you live life! 

If you don’t feel you can do yoga on your own, go to a studio to take a yoga class. If you are a beginner who wants to start with online yoga, you can find one of the best yoga studios in your area or online for yoga classes that suit your time and schedule. 

I look forward to being able to take you away to some of the best yoga retreats, depending on what part of the world you want to visit! 

In case you’re already planning a trip for the forthcoming year or even later, you can contact me and set up a consultation call, where we can chat about where you would like to go and whether you are looking to go on a purely yoga-oriented vacation or a vacation that also includes a yoga retreat!


Hiking can transform your life for the better…

Trying to figure out when the travel ban will be lifted in the USA is tricky; because although a few places are open for us to travel to right now, it may not be a good idea to do so. Naturally, this is because we want to stay indoors as much as possible so that the virus stops spreading, and we can ALL, collectively, revert to our normal lives ASAP. 

I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to go back to normal! The new normal is not for me, because a world where I can’t travel freely is not an idea I like very much. 

As for understanding when the travel ban will be lifted – I cannot honestly say. However, what I do know is that we CAN still avoid the blues of not being able to travel. I thought long and hard, and came up with a solution that helps us deal with not being able to fly far this year – hiking!


Although taking a hiking trip close to where you live is perhaps not your ideal summer trip, you will be astonished to learn just how fulfilling it is! 

A few weeks ago, I shared some COVID-friendly guidelines for you to keep in mind when you go hiking. Here’s the link, just in case you forgot. 

For a lot of people, hiking is a way of life. You will find hikers who can’t get enough of following their favourite trails and exploring new ones. So much that a normal vacation itinerary for them also includes a whole lot of hiking. 

Me? I wasn’t a hiking person at all. The outdoorsy life was never for me, especially since I am more of a peaceful vacationer. 

Except, I couldn’t stand staying at home the entire time. So I decided to do something I’ve never really cared for; and went hiking.

And, dear reader, you will not believe just how fulfilling it was! Here’s a short video describing my hiking experience (link to the IG video). 

Here are some reasons that hiking is such a fulfilling experience: 

Hiking can help solve a lot of your health problems and prevent others 

There are a number of ways in which hiking can contribute to improved physical health. From better cardiovascular health to a lowered risk of different types of cancer, and a thorough lung-cleansing, hiking is a great way to keep your body young, even as you grow older. Here are some of the health problems that hiking can help cure or prevent: 

  • Diabetes
  • Cholesterol
  • Cancer

Hiking helps you keep fit

This is a more obvious reason. Hiking can help you lose weight and also strengthen your muscles. For people that dislike the gym, hiking is a solid option to get fit. And now, during the coronavirus pandemic – it is perhaps the only option, even for gym-goers. 

Hiking rejuvenates your mind

When you go hiking, you find yourself surrounded by nature. Studies have shown that by stepping into nature and avoiding electronic devices can help you do away with the worries of your daily schedule and other stressors.

Hiking reduces your stress levels

Research has shown that people who spend some time amidst nature are less likely to feel stressed. Regular visits outdoors can help you stay calm for longer periods of time. 

Hiking is a mood-lifter

Yet another fantastic effect of hiking is that your body being active, amidst nature, can help relieve stress hormones – contributing to a happier, more positive state of mind. At a time like this, I bet you could use a mood-lifter, eh? 

Oxygen matters 

When you go off hiking, your body is able to take in more oxygen than in a polluted environment – thanks to all the trees and plants you will encounter. Oxygen is essential for pretty much everything we do. From being linked with the way serotonin in our brain functions to memory, appetite, and social behaviour, ‘getting some fresh air’ is more than just a phrase – it should be taken quite literally, to help you function optimally. 

Hiking improves your sleep quality

Did you know that by hiking on uneven terrain, you use about 28% more energy than if you did on even terrains. This consumption of energy, coupled with taking time off your phone screen, can help you improve the quality of your sleep, as well as your sleep schedule!

Where can you go hiking? 

Depending on where you live, a simple Google search can show you some of the hiking trails you can visit close to you. Of course, make sure you are in compliance with the guidelines as provided by the CDC at all times. 

I can help!

If you would like me to help you plan your hiking trip, you may contact me here: and I will be pleased to show you where to go!


5 Stunning Hiking Trails In & Around Charlotte


With the increasing uncertainty of when we might be able to travel again, we have found ourselves actively seeking out different ways to bask in nature. Just to get a break from staying indoors and feeling like you’re cut off from the outside world, except when you need essentials. If you’re like me, you’ve probably been doing your research too, and your browser history is probably punctuated with search queries like:

Hiking trails near me

Can I go hiking? (Btw, yes you can, you just have to be ultra-careful!) 

Gardens near me 

Can I go jogging/running/walking? 

The simple answer is – yes, you can do these things. You can visit gardens, and state parks, and hiking trails. And yes, you can also go jogging, running or walking. 

As a travel agent that people can trust for all advice related to travel, I thought it might be useful for you to know how you can do physical activities outdoors, safely. 

Here’s what the CDC has to say about going out: 

  • There is a potential risk of going out, which is closely related to meeting other people. 
  • Unless you can maintain 6 feet of distance between you and other people at all times, it’s a bad idea to engage in any social interactions outside of your household. 
  • Should you happen to run into someone you know while you’re out, you should be careful about how long you spend with them. The longer you spend time with people, the higher are your chances of being infected. 
  • Going out in groups with people outside your household is risky. 
  • Indoor spaces are riskier than outdoor spaces. 
  • If you are at high risk for severe illnesses, you should avoid going to places where you chance interacting with other people. 

Read all their guidelines here. They also list preventive measures on their website here

Here’s my break-down of what that means for you: 

  • You can go hiking safely if you don’t meet people who don’t live with you. 
  • You CAN go hiking with your family members if they live with you. 
  • If you do need to visit public places where you might find other people, wear a mask. 
  • Carry your own food, water, toilet paper, and sanitizer. 
  • If you do feel sick, stay home! 

These should have you covered for your COVID-19 hiking plans! 

Hiking in 2020 during COVID-19

Hiking has long been a favored form of physical exercise by many-a fitness enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. Long walks have the potential to be everything from peaceful to romantic and just plain fun – and that’s essentially what hiking is. Add to it the beauty of nature that you get to take in, and you’ve got a wellness activity that rejuvenates you and makes you want 

My intrigue with the world of wellness travel intensified when I realized that you don’t need to necessarily travel far to be able to travel for wellness! The thing is, travel is more to me than just a source of livelihood – it’s a way of living. And being forced to stay indoors has turned my world upside down. 

So when I found out that I can go hiking to delightful locations close to where I live, I realized that along with me, you should be able to, as well! In this blog post, I’ve compiled a list of 5 hiking trails you should definitely check out if you live in and around Charlotte, North Carolina. 

5 Hiking Trails In and Around Charlotte 

Lake Norman State Park 

Disclaimer: This photo is by NC State Parks and is not owned by TTS

Lake Norman is absolutely gorgeous, especially at this time of the year when the trees are in bloom! The Lake Norman State Park has 33 acres of the 32,000+ acre lake, surrounding which, you can find plenty of trails for hiking, biking, and picnicking. Here are a couple of trails within the Lake Norman State Park 

Alder Trail

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When I went to Lake Norman with my family last week, we chose to hike along the Alder Trail, which is an especially great trail if you’re looking to refresh your muscles and stretch your limbs out a little. A short trail of under a mile’s length, the Alder trail invites you to take a walk through alders and pines along the shore of the lake. 

Lakeshore Trail 

The Lakeshore Trail is a much longer one at 6.3 miles long and has been reviewed as an impressive one by several hikers! It offers a scenic walk along the lake, laced with greenery and flowers; and comes with the option of a shorter, 3 mile trail for those that want something easier on their bodies. 

Bakers Mountain Park

Disclaimer: This photo was from the AllTrails Website and is not owned by TTS. 

The hiking trail at Bakers Mountain park is about 6 miles long and offers a stunning view from about 700 ft above. Bakers Mountain, situated approximately an hour’s drive from Charlotte, is beyond fantastic, with its diversely-populated flora and birdwatching options. 

Evergreen Nature Preserve 

Disclaimer: This photo was from the AllTrails Website and is not owned by TTS. 

Just three miles from the heart of Charlotte is a quick and easy 2-mile long trail that’s great for you to visit right now and bask in the glory of nature! You can smell the fragrance of hardwood and sight migratory birds. A hidden gem that’s relatively shy of the public eye, this is your chance at exploring a gem that’s not so far from urbanization!

Ribbonwalk Nature Preserve 

Disclaimer: This photo was from the AllTrails Website and is not owned by TTS. 

Butterfly-spotting. Herbaceous plants. The scent of woody plants. And birdwatching. 

Does it get better? 

Actually, it does! This is another park in Charlotte. With several miles of lush forest land, interspersed with ponds, the Ribbonwalk Nature Preserve is the perfect mid-day escape for you to find some peace from all the housework and working from home!

I do hope you enjoy exploring these trails just as much as I enjoyed putting it together for you! I will be thrilled to offer you more options and itineraries for your hiking trip near Charlotte at affordable rates. If you live in other parts of the USA, I can help you out with a special little package, too! Get in touch to plan your special hiking trip now! Also follow me on Instagram to see how I’ve been coping with not being able to travel 😉

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Guidelines for Hiking in 2020: USA

When you think of travelling, you probably think of hopping onto a flight and taking off to different countries! A dream that many of us harbour, international travel is unfortunately impossible as of July 2020. 

But who says you can’t travel anyway? In this blog post of mine, I spoke about how you can travel without really travelling. And now, I have better news for you!

You can still go hiking in and around where you live!

In the USA, a number of guidelines by the CDC and several states, show that you can go hiking safely and responsibly. 

In this article, I’ve explored the guidelines that many sources are providing to us for safe hiking possibilities. 

Tips for safe hiking

Here’s a bunch of tips that I got – all summed up in a pretty picture for you to save and keep in mind! 🙂 

If you want to read about each of these guidelines in detail, I’ve linked to all the sources at the end!

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Happy hiking!

If you need help planning a hiking trip, get in touch here!


Note: Thia’s Travel Services is not a medical expert and claims no liability. Thia’s Travel Services is only relaying information from verified third-parties.

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What are the best destinations for wellness travel?

As someone who has always indulged in wellness travel, it was like music to my ears when I realized that in 2019 this was a booming industry! The growth potential of wellness tourism is massive, studies have found. And the low possibility of travel in 2020 has made many of us promise ourselves that we will travel more next year. With my compilation of the best wellness destinations, here’s some motivation for you to figure out where you want to travel in 2021!

Bali, Indonesia

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This paradise in Indonesia checks off all the boxes for a perfect vacation. Although it has always been popular for its pristine beaches, ancient culture, and delicious food, Bali is now gaining acclaim for its options to soothe and detoxify your mind and body. 

Find your favourite wellness activity amidst water sports, soft adventure sports like hiking, and yoga and meditation retreats. Top it off with healthy food options – they also have tasty options for vegans – and your wellness vacation is complete. 

A holistic (and super Instagrammable!) place, Bali sounds like the most alluring Summer ‘21 wellness destination…And guess what? I, as a Club Med expert agent, can pack you off to one of their Bali resorts for an all-inclusive spa vacation! 

Rishikesh, India

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India is known for a variety of things – and yoga is one of them. Rishikesh, a city considered holy, is the perfect balance of scenic beauty and yoga retreats. An absolutely stunning location draws thousands of visitors from around the world to this small Himalayan town. 

Take a trip to Rishikesh to immerse yourself in relaxation and healing, along with one of the world’s most favoured cuisines to satisfy your tastebuds – and come back feeling like a new, peaceful you!

Costa Rica

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If soaking in nature is how you define wellness, then Costa Rica is the place to visit. When you visit this land of natural wonders, you give yourself the chance to explore in different ways – like taking delightful hikes through rainforests or walking (barefoot) in the sand. And then, you can get treated to a blissful spa treatment or a deeply nurturing massage – whatever you prefer. All-in-all, Costa Rica provides to you an unforgettable blend of energizing and relaxation activities that make this destination one of the most widely-acclaimed for wellness travel!  

Sedona, Arizona

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If you’re looking to travel within the USA, Sedona in Arizona can offer you an interesting tryst with wellness. The most commonly-asked question is, “Can I really experience wellness in a…desert?” 

Sedona shows us that you can! Enjoy canyon-bathing, stargazing, and basking in the beauty of the red-sandstone-laden horizon, along with alternative spirituality surrounding you. Definitely a must-visit for those that are believers in spirituality and healing!

Karasburg Region, Namibia

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What if I told you that you could help participate in leopard research, animal-counting, and biodiversity surveys? Wouldn’t it make you feel ecstatic to be able to contribute to the greater good, all whilst surrounded by nature? At the Oana Wildlife Reserve, you can do exactly all of these things! 

The Wildlife Reserve is a 45,000-hectare mass of land, focused on preserving wildlife and offering visitors stunning options for their own wellness. Find the peace in a change of scenery and doing good, and come back feeling accomplished!

Turks and Caicos

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If you’ve ever travelled with me or know me personally, you KNOW that my favourite region in the world is the Caribbean. Which is why, I’m so thrilled to tell you about wellness in Turks and Caicos. You can take part in some fulfilling physical activities, like mountain biking and water sports, and then pamper yourself to an all-inclusive spa vacation at Club Med! It’s definitely the perfect way to experience relaxation and mindfulness. If that wasn’t all, you can also indulge in yoga and meditation retreats. There’s nothing quite like taking the time to enjoy the activities you like and then spending time focusing on your mental wellness. 

In fact, I’m already booking vacations for you for 2021. If a wellness vacation is something you’re looking forward to, you may contact me here and I can put you up at the most amazing retreats and all-inclusive resorts!


3 Interesting Ways You Can Experience Wellness Travel

My love for wellness travel knows no bounds! Wellness travel gives you the opportunity to go on a vacation that rejuvenates your senses and nurtures you to bring back your mind and body to their optimal state of functioning. If you missed my blog on what exactly wellness travel is, you should check it out to get a better idea of why wellness travel is so fulfilling. In this article, I throw light on 3 wellness activities you should try out when we can travel again. 

Stand-Up Paddleboarding 

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Paddleboarding is a fantastic way for you to experience the world in a completely new light. One of the newer sports that people are talking about, paddleboarding is not just your regular sport. Irrespective of your fitness level, body shape and weight, you can paddleboard if you want to. 

Some of the reasons that paddleboarding is so popular amongst people, especially in the wellness travel industry, are: 

  • Anyone can do it 
  • It’s really, really relaxing
  • It’s environmentally-friendly 
  • You get to immerse yourself in nature and cruise around on still waters, at your pace
  • It’s great to help you tone your muscles and increase your strength

Here are the top 10 destinations for paddleboarding, within the Americas: 

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  • Turks and Caicos Islands 
  • Lake Tahoe, California
  • Santa Cruz, California
  • Sunset Beach, Hawaii
  • Bahamas
  • Costa Rica
  • Key West, Florida
  • Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
  • Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
  • Puerto Rico

Some of the best destinations for paddleboarding, worldwide, are: 

  • Bali, Indonesia
  • Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Cape Town, South Africa
  • Bay of Islands, New Zealand
  • Causeway Coast, Northern Ireland
  • Lisbon Coast, Portugal
  • Namotu Island, Fiji

Trying out some Adventure Sports

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Indulging in adventure sports has become a widely-practised wellness travel trend, of late – and it is a trend that is here to stay! 

Wellness travel was traditionally synonymous with activities of relaxation, but at Thia’s Travel Services, we view wellness travel as more than just that. We view it as a holistic blend of adrenaline-inducing activities, relaxation, and healthy lifestyle choices.

By engaging in adventure sports, you get to engage your senses and channel your energy into an activity characterized by a racing heartbeat and adrenaline coursing through your veins. This sets the stage for a post-activity relaxation like no other. By participating in adventure sports, you keep your body active without causing it stress. 

Wellness travel is generally a great choice for those looking to build back their mental and physical strength, which is why getting into the habit of keeping your body fit through adventure sports can be an exciting and fulfilling experience. 

The most popular adventure sports that travellers and wellness-enthusiasts like to engage in are: 

  • Kayaking
  • White-Water Rafting
  • Scuba Diving
  • Surfing
  • Windsurfing
  • Hiking 
  • Zip-Lining

Here are my picks for some of the best destinations for adventure sports: 

  • Jamaica: From under-sea trekking to horse-back riding, Jamaica has a phenomenal range of unique adventure sports that are sure to liven up your wellness vacation!
  • South Africa: A diversity of geographical features, gives you the ability to engage in tons of adventure sports, from rafting to mountain climbing. 
  • Yosemite National Park: This national park within the USA allows more serious adventure sports enthusiasts to go rock-climbing; post which, relaxation feels utterly blissful. 
  • Oceania: Although this is a broader region, Oceania is home to adventure sports like sky diving, bungee jumping, scuba diving, snorkelling, and more!  A wellness vacation to Oceania, with a focus on adventure sports, is a must for more active travellers. 

Practising Yoga

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This ancient Indian art of mental, physical and spiritual wellness has been widely explored in the western world for decades. Now, with wellness travel booming, yoga-enthusiasts and those who have always wanted to try it out for themselves have the opportunity to travel AND reap the benefits of practising yoga, simultaneously. 

Learn how to imbibe yoga into your life for improved physical and mental health, and a completely rejuvenated outlook on the world, by booking yourself a wellness vacation at a yoga retreat. 

Personally, I believe that to make the most of a yoga retreat, you should learn from yoga masters at the very source, in India. Here are the most popular yoga retreats in India:

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  • Wildflower Hall, Shimla
  • Ananda in the Himalayas, Rishikesh
  • Anand Prakash Yoga Ashram, Rishikesh
  • Ashiyana, Goa
  • Banyan Tree Yoga, Goa
  • Little Cove Yoga Retreat, Goa
  • Purple Valley Yoga, Goa
  • The Beachhouse, Goa
  • Yogamagic Eco Retreat, Goa
  • Shreyas, Bengaluru
  • Soukya, Bangalore
  • Carnoustie Ayurveda & Wellness Resort, Kerala

If you can’t make a trip to India, there are other places in the world that host yoga retreats, too! Some of these places are: 

  • Thailand
  • Costa Rica
  • Morocco
  • Greece
  • Romania
  • Indonesia
  • Jamaica

Final Words

Experiencing wellness travel can open up your world to a healthier and happier you! It’s time to stop putting your own wellness aside and focusing on strengthening your mental and physical health. Get in touch to book vacations for 2020 (restrictions apply, in some cases) and for 2021, a year that we are all dearly looking forward to!

I invite you to come forward with your knowledge, experiences, and questions. Contact me here or DM me on Instagram. Let’s talk! 🙂 

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